The family of Bello Iliyasu may be forced to relocate from Jalingo, if security agencies are unable to rein in kidnappers in Taraba State.
Illiyasu, who made the revelation while speaking with THE WHISTLER, said kidnappers in the state were tormenting residents, including farmers who are now too scared to go to their farms.
He revealed that kidnappers have turned his family into a “money-making” machine due to incessant abduction of family members.
He said his family had given out as much as N18.9m in ransom to kidnappers of different family members, including an uncle who was killed.
He said the development had forced one of his brothers who was a victim to sell his house in Jalingo and relocated to Abuja with his family.
He said the same gang of kidnappers had abducted another family member, Hassan Ahmed ,on November 4 and are demanding N13 million for his release.
“We told them we don’t know where to go to raise money, they told us to go and steal like them, they said they’ve agreed they are thieves; we too should go steal and bring the money to them,” Iliyasu told THE WHISTLER.
He said last year, his elder brother, Abbas Bello, a Superintendent of Custom, was kidnapped and they paid a ransom of N11m for his release including buying drinks and cigarettes.
“I feel there’s someone pushing or directing them to us, maybe someone within our family wanting to cripple us to become poor,” Iliyasu alleged.
Illiyasu said the kidnappers always seemed to be well informed about his family’s movements, saying that the first day they came for Bello, he was out of Jalingo on a trip to Lagos, and they ended up kidnapping his security man. He was released after payment of N500,000 ransom.
He said when his brother returned from the trip the following day, the kidnappers came for him again. He said they told him, “Alhaji we don’t know you, we were only told to kidnap you.”
He revealed that the kidnappers killed a policeman and shot at another , before bolting with their rifles and handsets.
He further stated that on 24th March 2022, another uncle, Hassan Bello, who’s a brother to Ahmed, was also kidnapped together with his wife, while they killed his elder brother, Hassan Gidado.
“When they came to the house, they told him (Gidado) to follow them, but he said he was going nowhere. Then one of them drew his gun and shot him in the chest. We had to pay a ransom of N12.1m before they were released, “ he revealed.
He added that all those kidnapped in his family were abducted by the same gang because they asked them similar questions and told each one what they did to the others.
The Taraba State Police Command told THE WHISTLER that it had not received any report about the abduction of Ahmed yet. The Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, SP Usman Abdullahi Bello, said there was no formal report about the kidnap of Ahmed made at any of the police stations in the state as of the time of filing this report.
Speaking about the other cases of kidnap, he said: “We hear cases of kidnappings, most are within the metropolis and the outskirts, so not all cases are reported. I don’t know whether they have been threatened by the kidnappers not to report the cases to the police station.
“But notwithstanding, the Command is not sitting on this, the command now goes on patrol. The Command’s anti-kidnapping unit has been committed. We’ve deployed so many assets to make sure that people can go to their farms free despite the fact that these things keep happening.
“The command is aware and we are doing everything humanly possible to see that we fight these people out of these areas. The Commissioner of police, AIG Yusuf A Suleiman has also extensively reached out to other security agencies for collaboration where it is leading to positive results: the military, the civil defence, our quasi-security outfit that is the vigilante, the professional hunters.”
Family Plans To Relocate From Taraba After Siege By Kidnappers is first published on The Whistler Newspaper